I can't believe I went over a month without blogging...oops! Time really has gotten away from me. I honestly haven't been in a "blogging" mood. Our house is so crazy, but I don't want to bore you with normal chaos. Now, I COULD have used my blog to vent about crazy, demanding, self-centered, etc. people I have encountered, but that my friends, is pretty much an every day occurrance for me. I have always been one to shoot off at the mouth but lately I have been trying VERY HARD to hold my toungue and just let it pass. Don't get me wrong -- fireworks are going off in my head -- but I have done very well in restraining what I rant about. I have decided in the long run it really doesn't matter. My fuming isn't going to change anything. People are still doing to be ignorant, arrogant, self-centered, demanding, unreasonable, etc. You get the idea. I really could care less. The only thing that matters in my little world are the five worm bodies living under my roof (six if you count the furry one!) At the end of the day, they are the ones I care about. Nothing else is that important to me (well you know -- on earth -- as far as other people are concerned). Time is too short to worry about the small stuff! Make the BEST...make the MOST of every moment you can. Other people aren't worth the stress! :-)
Right up there with "I Love You", I think "Thank You Jesus" are three of the most important. Lately, my perspective has changed - in some areas at least.
I grumble when the weekend approaches because unlike "normal" people, there is no such thing as a "relaxing" weekend at our house. My husband has go to bed early Friday night because he as to be up early. Friday nights (for the most part) and Saturday mornings are a wash because he works for his dad Saturday mornings. I hate it. We have been married (almost) 15 years and I have always hated it. There has never been such a thing as curling up with the kiddos and watching cartoons, or going out for breakfast, or getting a jump on yard work, or even just being lazy. He is gone before sun up and doesn't get back until lunch. He breaks his neck to catch the end of a soccer game if it is a late one. It stinks.
Thank you Jesus for blessing me with a husband who loves and works hard for his family and always makes the most of every situation. I thank you that he is able to come home every night.I thank you that he does not cheat and is an honest person with high morals and standards that he is passing down to his own sons. Many others have spouses who are abusive, non-caring, or have been taken from their families too early. I am beyond blessed...
There are days I feel like if Ava or Sarah yell "Mom!!!" one more time, my head is going to explode! Once they bound through the door, (and I am not exaggerating) I am unable complete a single thought in my head the rest of the day. Ava is forever testing her boundaries.
Thank you Jesus that (at least for today) my kids are healthy and can speak to me and call my name. So many children are sick and in the hospital for various diseases who cannot speak, or communicate with the parents who love them and would trade the world to take their place. So many others long to have a child and are unable to conceive. There are parents whose hearts are literally broken because their child was taken unexpectedly....much too early. You have given me four and I love them more than words could ever express. They are the light of my life and I am in awe that you have given them to me.
I get frustrated when I miss things because of my work schedule. I always feel like I let my kids down if I can't drive for every field trip, or be at every class party. Sometimes I can switch things around, but I'm not always so lucky. Granted, there aren't many things I miss, but still... I hate hearing the disappointment in the girls voices when they ask, "Mommy, will you be home before we go to bed?" and I have tell them "no".
Thank you Jesus that I have a job that I (for the most part) enjoy. So many people are struggling to find work these days. Thank you for this provision. Help me to be content where I know you have led me, and use me to minister to others.
Thank you Jesus for my health. I know many who are battling cancer and would give anything just to be able to have a "bad hair day".
I remember when we moved into our house a year ago, the walls were freshly painted, the carpet (although far from being new) was clean, and the whole place was immaculate! Now, a year and a half later, (thanks to four kids, a couple of sippy cups and a new puppy) there are carpet stains, finger prints on door frames and some inconspicuous crayon marks. It is far from immaculate. I remember how it looked the first time we saw it and sometimes I grumble (under my breath) when I see how um - "lived in" it looks. I don't know why. There are six of us living there for goodness sake...plus a dog! I guess I will always be a little OCD...
Thank you Jesus for house full of love, noise and laughter. There are so many "signs of life" here. My goal is not to impress anyone, but to make everyone who enters to feel welcomed. Spills and spots are so trivial in the grand scheme of things!
Lord, I know my life circumstances could change in the blink of an eye, but just for today - for this moment - I thank you for all the little things that tend to drive me crazy. In the end, they really are just trivial things that I (ashamedly) take for granted. I don't deserve any of this. Thank you for blessing me beyond measure...my cup truly overflows.
It's been a whole two weeks (and then some) since my last post...so let's do a quick catch up ~ shall we?
Birthday for me -- best part being the "little things" from my family. My kids DO like me! :-)
Soccer started for Josh and Sarah. I love watching them!
Ava started ballet. My little "delicate flower" loooves Carrie Jean!
Zachary is in full swing with cross country. I am so proud of his determination and dedication! Each week his times and placement get better!
Josh auditioned for the school play - still waiting to hear about that.
My first "Mom's In Touch" (for Crosswind) meeting is tomorrow...I'm excited!
Lot's of "firsts" this week....more about that later! :-)
Lots of "friends" time...and more to come next week.
Lunch date with hubby last week. Loved it! Nothing like uninterrupted time together...so refreshing!
Loved watching tv Friday night with oldest son piled on top of me - he will never be too old or too big :-)
Frustrated with certain aspects of life...but trying to learn to be content with where I am right now.
My love for Target gets deeper every day...it is my happy place...and having Starbucks inside is bonus ~
I am also developing a love for tennis shoes - particularly running shoes. The flashier the better!
Love to "blog stalk". I will catch up on friends blogs, then check out their friends blogs, etc. I like "real" blogs...people who are honest about what they are going thru, how they feel about things, etc. I hate reading blogs written by people who make you think that woodland creatures are cleaning their house and the fairy godmother is making dinner....
Trying to juggle work, schedules, and quality time = failure most of the time. My friends make me believe they do it with no problem, so why am I struggling with it? Some of us have to work outside the home....(insert guilt here)....
I have decided Ava needs a personal assistant for our morning routine. If she is left alone for a split second she is off playing in her room, or with Bernie, etc. She is on her own schedule and just moves along as she deems necessary. "Hurry up" is NOT in her vocabulary. Neither is "WE HAVE GOT TO GO!!!"
My garage is hideous....must get rid of LOTS OF STUFF!!
I think my walls in my house need to be chocolate brown...that would hide a multitude of sins! Come to think of it, maybe the carpet should be chocolate brown too...
My laundry basket was empty last week....for about 3 minutes....but that was a glorious 3 minutes...
There's nothing like a birthday to make you feel all warm and fuzzy....even on a mild September day! I have had the best birthday...and it wasn't because of gifts or anything like that. It was because of all the little things....the posts on my Facebook wall from people I have known for years or even a few months. No really....it is amazing how taking a few seconds to just write "Happy Birthday" on someone elses' wall can make a huge impact (spoken from the one on the receiving end!)
The best has been my own little family. I love my family...really I do. They gave me the best cards,and Josh even gave me cash for a present! It was HIS cash too - not like he went to his dad and "borrowed" it. If you know Josh, that is HUGE!!! He hand-made his card...wrote a poem and took up all four sides of the paper! It was really funny...I'm going to scan it and keep it...maybe even find a way to frame it. He made videos of everyone (individually and as a group) singing "Happy Birthday" to me. They ALL went out of their way to make me feel so very special ~ and it worked!
I love my little family....they give me "warm fuzzies".......
I really wanted to just post a link to this (because I take no credit for it whatsoever), but there is no "direct" link. It is a daily devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministires. I actually read this on a friend's blog and to me it really was a pull-you-up-by-your-bootstraps-slap-you-in-the-face gentle reminder of something I have always known but so very much needed to be reminded of right now. I'm not even going to elaborate....just read the devotion for yourself. It is long, but well worth the read:
“…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5b (NIV) I spent months working on it, with big expectations and high hopes. In the blink of an eye it was crushed. This reality tore into my heart like a jagged knife, ripping my dream into tiny little shreds. Disappointment was so great it was difficult to process my feelings. I had worked tirelessly on this project and now I felt disappointment and rejection.
Disappointment soon turned to irritation which morphed into resentment. I didn’t FEEL it was fair.
Why didn’t God answer my prayers? Why had He placed a dream in my heart only to allow it to crumble? Why had He let this happen? Why me?
I knew I needed to have a good attitude and not give up, but I did not FEEL like doing that at all!
Questions pummeled my brain. What is the use? Why try again? If God didn’t answer my prayer after all this time, why bother keep trying?
I allowed my FEELings to overtake my FAITH.
All I could think about was how this disappointment made me feel, instead of what God may be doing that my faith could not see. I felt things weren’t fair, without remembering God’s ways are best. I felt a longing for immediate results, instead of trusting God’s timing is perfect.
My feelings had gotten in the way of my faith, so I turned to Psalm 25 (NIV) for perspective. The following verses washed over my spirit.
Verse 1, “In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.”
I felt discouraged, unworthy, hopeless, rejected. So I poured my feelings and my soul out to God. And He listened.
Verse 2, “I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.”
God reminded me to trust Him, not a desire or a dream. Not the world’s view. Not my abilities. Not my timeframe. Not my ideas. Trust Him alone. I prayed about my enemies—intangible feelings such as self doubt, insecurity, frustration, and discouragement.
Verse 3, “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.”
Regardless of whether or not my desires become a reality, I will not be put to shame, because God is my God. If His plans coincide with my dreams, I know He will keep His eternal promises.
Verses 4-5a, “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me,”
These words stopped me in my tracks. I began to think more rationally. Why did I beat my head against a wall? Why was I consumed with anxiety and frustration? Was I allowing God to direct my paths? God gently reminded me He is the teacher, I am the student.
Verse 5b, “…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
If I put my hope in my own desires and abilities, I set myself up for failure. My only hope for joy and fulfillment comes from Christ alone. Hope is found in Him, not people, a career, your husband or children, church, financial success, a carefree life, or dreams that come true.
Disappointments will happen. With God, however, we can turn those disappointments into God’s appointments to trust Him. The first step is to exercise faith over feelings.
"Dear Lord, You know the hurt in my heart and the sting of disappointments I have experienced. Please help me trust You, instead of being consumed by feelings. Empower me with a faith that is stronger than my emotions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen."
No really...it can't be that time already? I distinctly remember holding my newborn babies in my arms in the hospital and thinking I had FOREVER with them. School? That was light years away! (Cindy Pillow -- I know you remember this too!!!!) Now look where I am...a semi "empty nester"! All four are in school. Sarah started kindergarten and Ava is now in K-4. No more little voices at home asking for a snack or chocolate milk or for me to watch a movie with them. On the flip side that are no little voices at home protesting when I tell them to leave the dog alone or to brush their teeth or to brush their hair or please get in the car because we have to leave NOW! I can honestly say I am quite conflicted. I miss them....terribly! I think of all the things I "wish" I had done, and yet I think of all the things I will be ABLE to do with much more ease! One thing I do not regret is keeping Ava at home with me last year. In spite of all the power struggles, I really liked having her around and I know she liked her "mommy" time! I love my "Bitsy"! I love my "Sissy" too (as well as Zachary and Josh), but you get the idea. A momma bird knows when her babies are ready to leave the nest, and mine most definately are. It's time for them to spread their wings and see what they can do! I'm just praying that this year is blessed...that they have teachers who love them, nurture them, and challenge them... that they make new friends and are a blessing to others as well...that the older ones are aware of how their choices impact others...that they continue to seek the Lord's face in all they do...that they are not easily influenced but rather are an influence on those around them...
So far things are off to a great start...no one needs their wings clipped.....YET! :-)
School that is....for one of my four kiddos. Josh started yesterday - at full throttle too. He not only went all day - but he rode the bus - and is at a new school this year. Personally, I find all that a little overwhelming, but for his flexible self, it was just another day. He had a great day and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. He was beside himself because he has a former classmate from his old school in his class, and then saw two others at lunch. I think he just like the fact that 2 kids were calling "Hey Josh!" in the cafeteria! :-) This morning he was up and had made his lunch before I even made it to the kitchen. Then he left for the bus stop without me having to tell him! I just wonder how long that will last .. haha!
And then there is the whole bus thing. He LOOOVES riding the bus! I'm not sure why, but it makes him happy and I am realizing that I like not having to go thru car line. Our stop is the last one on the way to school and the first one after school, so he is really on there for literally 10 minutes or less. Sarah is going to be riding to and she cannot wait!
So one down and three to go. Sarah goes for her K-5 "stagger" day on Thursday, and Ava has her K-4 stagger day on Friday. I have heard from reliable sources about what is happening this week and it sounds like Thursday I am going to be one big puddle! All my chicks are growing up! I'm not sure to be :-) or :-( ......
So yesterday I started a blog post about my grandmother because it was two years since she passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was a great post....all about how wonderful and yet how stubborn she was. How if she thought the sky was green it didn't matter tha tyou could prove it was blue...it was green! How she was an amazing cook. I never saw her use a recipe. She made the best dressing I have ever had - not to mention banana puddin', candy, cakes, you name it. EVERYTHING was better at her house....seriously. It was also about how much she loved her great-grands...all 6 of them...and how they still talk about her and miss her to this day. Ava mentions from time to time that she "talks" to her - and quite frankly I believe her. If you have ever read "90 Minutes in Heaven" or "Heaven Is For Real" then you know what I am talking about!
So anyway...that was it. Nothing much....getting ready for school and the stress level is rising. Four kids....2 different schools...trying to figure out practices, shuttle services....it all throws me into a panic attack! I'm not sure how this is all going to work out, but I guess it will.
Maybe we can just sell the house, buy an RV and travel America. Hmmmm... that is starting to sound pretty good about now! :-)
Yeah, so I have failed miserably as far as blogging goes this summer. I just seem to always run out of time. These lazy, hazy days of summer are slipping through my hands and I don't like that at all! We have been busy, and we still have lots to do! I guess that is good tho. I have never been a fan of school starting back, but I am REALLY fighting it all the way this year. There are too many changes going on. Up until this year, Charles had been my "point-person" witht he kids. He works there, so he runs into them during the day and can get in a quick "hello" or "how's your day?" This year won't be that way tho (insert big frowny face here). Zachary is in a different building and Josh and Sarah are at totally different schools. Ava however, is good. I'm not worried about her...she is in GREAT hands! (Love you Cindy!) I am already stressing about all three of the older ones. Zachary - just because he is in 7th grade....Josh and Sarah because they are going to totally new schools, new friends, riding the bus, what if there are bullies? I have no inside go-to person to check on them! (Well, I do know a teacher there, but she will have her own classroom to deal with.) This is crazy! All I can do is pray about it. That is powerful - yes - and literally all I can do. I just seem have a problem of letting go of it. I'm sure NO ONE has ever had that problem! :-)
So, until then, I will relish the rest of my time. The days we can stay up late and sleep in...go swimming...whatever we want with no bedtimes or schedules. That is my kind of life! Is that wrong? Maybe I just need a vacation.....yes....another one - ha!!
turned 4 years old yesterday...loves candy...hates having her hair brushed...loves a headband over a "clip" (even tho her head is flat on top and thus not conducive to a headband!)...is a "mini-me" of her older brother Josh...is happy wearing her princess dresses every day...sings all the time...sleeps aaaallll oooooovvver the bed...is extremely strong-willed...tells me she loves me all day long...weighed just over 6 lbs. at birth (which is why her nickname has always been "Itsy Bitsy")...has a favorite blanket that she not only sleeps with every night but sleeps with it in her mouth!...can change her mood like a light switch...must always be touching someone no matter if she is sleeping, eating, or watching t.v....likes her cereal plain with no milk...has to have her chocolate milk in the mornings like most adults have to have their coffee!
The Other One...
turned 5 years old last week...loves every kind of fruit on the planet...is a "mini-me" of her older brother Zachary...tells me all the time how much she loves her short haircut...is a mother hen to her little sister. weighed over 8 lbs. when she was born...sleeps curled up in a ball most of the night...cannot have too many baby dolls...prefers dresses and flip-flops to anything else...loves riding her bike and playing outside...is always happy...has such a big, grateful heart...has a heart murmur (that is slowly getting better)...is very much a "mommy's girl"...will most likely be riding a two-wheeler and swimming with no floaties by the end of the summer...got three stitches in her chin and didn't even whimper...tells me all the time how much she "loves her whole family"...can pray longer than some pastors preach!
melt my heart every day...keep growing even though I want them to stop (just for a little while)...love each other fiercely...are bff's...will always first and foremost forever be SISTERS...
Okay....laptop has gone kapooey on us, so for now, no serious blogging until I get home. Drats! Anyway...I'm pretty they are going to have to drag me away kicking and screaming. I love sitting on the balcony...listening to the waves...the whole family playing "tag" in the pool...shutting everything else out but us and making lots of memories. Every night I use my phone and jot out the day's events in my "Notes" app. I'll use it to catch everyone up later. See y'all next week! :-)
Today was our first full day here at the beach. Yesterday really doesn't count I guess, because it was a travel day. We made great time! Since we couldn't check in before 3, I didn't see the need to leave in the middle of the night to try to get here. So, we managed to leave about 10:15 and still made it here in about 8 hours...only stopping once ~ yes ~ ONCE! With four kids (one of whom has a bladder the size of the head of a pin), that is nothing short of a miracle! We were reminiscing about past trips - as a family and as teenagers with friends and church trips. Good times!! As soon as we unloaded the car we had to get to the beach. After a short walk we talked the girls into coming in so we could go buy food and get some dinner. It was still close to midnight before everyone was asleep, but sleep they did! The kids didn't get up until 9:15. Actually, Ava was up about 6 but I sent her back to bed. We hit the beach...swam, looked for seashells (which the seashells here are SO TINY!!!! What is up with that?) Sarah did find two of the smallest sand dollars I have EVER seen. I was amazed! I have never found a sand dollar on the beach - only in a shop! So anyway...the girls got tired of building sand castles and burying Josh on the beach so we headed to the pool. Then back inside for lunch and downtime. The girls talked me into going back down to the pool so Charles and I headed back out while the boys stayed upstairs (actually, Josh just crawled in his bed and took a nap!) Then when the boys decided to join this, we realized the importance of keeping one of the spare keys in the lock box on the door. It's in case you are locked out BTW! One hour and $50 later we were back in. Yes - it was a little frustrating and poor Zachary really beat himself up about it, but you know...it's a lesson learned. It's over, it all worked out, so why dwell on it? Things happen and you have to consider them a "lesson learned" - THE END!
So that was our drama for the day, but the biggest laugh of the day was when Zachary posted as his Facebook status that he went "Booby" boarding earlier. Oh. My. Word. I just happened to check my FB after he posted that and after I composed myself and told him what he had done, he was scrambling to get to his iTouch to change it but couldn't. We were all laughing soooo hard! I didn't think about having him sign on the laptop, but oh well...lots of people got a kick out of it. He is such an amazing kid. I just love his heart -- I just wish he wasn't so hard on himself! As soon as we got let back into the condo, he grabbed his wallet and tried to pay Charles the $50. He felt it was his fault we got locked out because he and Josh were the last ones out the door. Of course Charles refused, but I admire him for even offering. How many 12 year olds would even think about doing that?
Tomorrow's agenda again involves beach and pool time but I really don't know what else. I know we plan on going to the Naval Aviation Museum later this week to see the Blue Angels practice. Charles and Zachary are going to go parasailing and Sarah and I will rent a jet ski one day. Who knows? That's really my idea of vacation ~ no agenda! We do what we want when we want. This week is all about us being just the 6 of us....and in Sarah and Ava's words "This is the best vacation EVER!" :-)
C'mon - you know you want to finish it - "and school comes along just to end it." Nothing beats a good Phineas and Ferb lead in! Actually, I don't know if we really do have 104 days, but nevertheless I will take what I can get. I love the lazy days of summer. Being able to wake up on my own before 7 a.m. is so much better than trying to drag myself up at 5:30 a.m.! We don't have huge plans, but here's what I love about our "104 days":
Staying up late
Celebrating birthdays! Bernie, Sarah and Ava all have birthdays in June...
Hanging out with the other "cove moms" at night, sitting outside and chatting while the kids (all 12+ of them) play all over the cove.
Going for walks
Jerry's Snow Cones ~ never got there last year!!
VACATION! (CANNOT come soon enough!)
Dancing - the girls do at least. The other day I asked Ava what she was doing and she said, "I'm shaking my booty - that's what you are supposed to do when you are dancing!")
Not caring if the house is spotless. This fall all four kiddos will be in school so there will plenty of time for me to catch up on that later. Within reason of course -- I don't exactly let mold grow or anything!
Watching movies - I'm so glad the girls are old enough to sit thru movies now
Ice cream at the square. This is a new one...Just sounds like fun. I like some of the new yogurt places, but their stuff is so expensive...we could eat a full meal at Chick-fil-A cheaper!
Watermelon....lots of watermelon!!!!!!!!
Sunshine! Love the feel of it on my skin - but not when it is 100+ degrees!
Not having a schedule ~ deciding to do things on a whim ~ spending lots of time with my kiddos ~ that's what those "104 days" are ALL about! :)
Yeeeee haaaaaaa! Let summer vacation begin! No more lunches...no more folders...no more lunches...no more permission slips...no more lunches...no more backpacks...no more LUNCHES! I know it is trivial, but I hate packing lunches. It's not that it is hard, I just hate doing it!
So anyway, this time of year always make me sad ~ especially this year. Zachary goes to 7th grade. A new building, a new schedule for him. He's excited tho. I love my guy. He received the award for "Most Christ-Like Boy" this year. I am so proud of him!
Josh had to say good-bye to his friends (for next year anyway). He (along with Sarah) is going to the neighborhood school next year. That makes me sad too. He really wanted to go last year but (for whatever reason), we didn't let him go. I think now the reality is setting in that he won't be with his old friends next year. He's having second thoughts. We told him to give it a year. If he doesn't like it he can go back to his old school next year. I think he will be fine. He makes friends easily. He is such a positive, upbeat kid with a generous heart.
Sarah....sweet Sarah will be changing schools too. She is excited. Her graduation was one of the most heart-wrenching emotional things I have gone thru in a long time ~ lol~! No really...I have been thru K-4 graduation twice already, but this time was especially hard. There was not a dry eye in the house! The poor teachers were crying as they called out their names. I made the mistake of reading the inside of the program right after I got there. It was a letter from the teachers to the parents. I am going to copy it and make it a prayer for all my kids teachers in the years to come. I pray they all will feel this for their students. Here's what it said:
We give back your children, the same children you confidently entrusted to our care last fall. We give them back pounds heavier, inches taller, more responsible, and more mature than they were then.
Although they would have obtained their growth in spite of us, it has been our pleasure and privilege to watch their personality unfold day by day and marvel at the splendid miracle of development.
We give them back reluctantly, for having spent ten months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we meet on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.
We have lived, laughed, played, studied and enriched our lives together this year.
We wish it could go on indefinitely, but give them back we must.
Take care of them, for they are precious.
Remember that we shall always be interested in your child and their destiny, wherever they go, whatever they do, whoever they become.
Their joys and sorrows we'll be happy to share.
We will always be their friends.
With much love, JR K Teachers
Can you see why I was a puddle through the whole thing? This class is so special. No really...they are a great group of kids. The all got along, and were just really an amazingly sweet bunch. Everyone - parents included - just "clicked" this year. They are so special. I'm going to miss being with them. Ava will be in that class next year, so I get to do it again. I just hope next year is even more amazing! Is that possible tho? :-)
My kids were blessed with amazing teachers this year. They love their students and have their best interests at heart. I love them all and am eternally grateful for them and the impact they have made on my kids lives this year. Love you ladies ~ so very much! Hope you have a happy, restful summer!
Yes -- now THIS is the real deal. Forget that show on TLC (or whatever channel it is on). Watching that show is like watching the aftermath of a bad accident. You watch in awe and think it is so bad but you can't not watch!
No, this is about the most beautiful little (and big!) girls dancing to "Aurora's Wedding". (QUIZ: Do you know which princess is named "Aurora"? You are not allowed to answer if you have a little girl under the age of 9! If you don't know, I'll tell you ~ at the end of the post!) Maybe it was because one of them was my own. Nevertheless, even though it literally was "a dark and stormy night" outside, the performance inside all but made up for it.
Mrs. Carrie Jean is an amazing woman. She choreographs the entire ballet - which incorporates the tiniest little jumping beans up to the most graceful ballerina. Being able to do that and do it well is a feat in itself. :-) She truly loves these girls (and boys!) She invests time ~ lots of time ~ and with little compensation. She teaches them scripture and prays with them. She brings it down to their level. In December, she had a "Mommy and Me" class (which btw kicked my butt was not as easy as it sounds). At the end she told the kids the Christmas story using miniature candy bars (like, the 3 wise men [aka "Three Muskateers"] found the babe ["Baby Ruth"]). I love how she calls them (the three and four year-olds) "little ballerinas". Even at the recital, she is out there on stage with them and when it was time for them to run off you could hear her calling, "Run to me ballerinas!" Precious I tell you...or maybe I am just sappy.
Before the performance, she went to every room (each age group had their own "dressing" room) and quoted their Bible verse and prayed with them. That just warms my heart!
I am so very greatful for Carrie Jean. She invests so much into the lives of these kids and she does it selflessly and with lots of love. Thank you for being Christ's servant!
Haha! I do lately! I don't feel like I am making any steps forward! My last fb status said I'm sure all of my kids teachers think I am a moron! Let's see - over 2 weeks..Josh AND Zachary have out-of-town field trips...maybe...but parents like me who forget to turn in forms and money make it impossible to make it happen! Aaaagh! Okay - in my defense - it was all a matter of things falling into place. Like, if this happens then we will do this but I can't do this until I know when this is going to happen and what if......? See what I mean? THEN the boys have rehearsals this weekend for Palm Sunday, Sarah has a birthday party and field trip (another form and $). I CANNOT KEEP UP THIS WEEK! Aaaaand.....my mom is having an out-patient procedure which meant I had to change my work schedule which has thrown me for a loop because I now have trouble remembering what day it is! Aaaaaand Ava has 2 ballet recitals coming up and I have to make sure I have the right leotard and tights for the right performance. Add all of this on top of the usual chaos that is our lives and there you have it! I want to pull the covers up over my head for a couple of weeks until all the action passes! :-)
So that fills you in on what I have been up to...no baby birdies yet, but the time is getting close! Mamma bird sits on the nest all the time now (except for when we get too close or if too many of us come out). We also have another addition coming. It looks like pigeons have nested on top of a ceiling fan on our patio. I'm guessing since mamma bird NEVER leaves, she must have eggs in there too. Don't these creatures see there are 4 kids and a dog all over that backyard? It's ironic how they pick the wildest atmosphere to have their babies, but I'm so glad they did! We have all learned from it. Can't wait for their arrival and I will post pics as soon as I see little beaks popping up!
Yep - it has been a whirlwind...and I don't mean the weather today! Josh and I made a quick overnight trip to Nashville Friday. He had a JBQ tournament - and all the kids did well. I'm so proud of them! Short synopsis..check in...eat dinner..go to swim...pool closed...kids (and parents) upset...went to Wally World and bought fixins for ice cream sundaes...popped pop corn...played games...crashed in room...up early..tourny all day...nice dinner...home at 10 p.m. Yeah - we were both pooped!
So Sunday afternoon, we were looking at the nest this robin has built in a tree right outside our kitchen window. Momma has been sitting on the nest so Charles took a look-see and (in case you didn't see it on my FB page) here is what is inside:
Is that just so cool? I am amazed by it! The girls tried to tell me several days ago that they thought the momma bird was sitting in the nest looking like she was "pooping" - I guess they were right! But really - just look at that nest. Look at how it is built! I mean, I know we have all seen a bird nest, but I am in awe of this one. This tiny creature with two wings, a beak, and tiny feet built this! God is awesome like that. Momma bird sat on these babies today during the storm and all is well. I have tried to get a pic of her on the nest but have not been super-successful. She was sitting on the fence giving me all kinds of heck when I took this picture. The nest is actually low enough that all I have to do is hold my camera (or phone) up and point down and I can take a picture. I can't wait to see these little babies! The kids are all excited too. We check on them - from a distance - several times a day. I will keep you posted on the progress!
So all this and then the crazy storm this morning. Ava and I were at her ballet class (which is in the basement of a church thank goodness!) I had actually run to Kroger to get some milk but the sirens went off just as I pulled into the parking lot. Sooooo....I turned around and went back. When I got there, they were all lined up against the wall in the hallway, sitting down, practicing their positions (arms only!) At that point the power went out (which is REALLY dark in a basement hallway), so they took requests from the kids. They sang "Jesus Loves Me", "Frosty the Snowman", "ABC's", "Mary Had A Little Lamb"....just to name a few. The storm passed and they still had about 10 minutes left to practice (BIG recital coming up May 2nd at GPAC!!!) ****SIDEBAR**** I just love Carrie Jean McDonald (her teacher)...she is such a blessing to so many families! I'm sad that Ava will not be able to take again next year since she will be in school :-( **** Lights were still out and Ava informs me she has to go potty. Seriously? You went RIGHT before class started! She must have a bladder the size of a squirrel's...so she did...while I used the flashlight app on my phone to create some sort of illumination so she could see what she was doing.
So that's been our craziness the past few days. Zoo trip tomorrow with the K4 class (because it is "Z" week you know!) Thank goodness it was rescheduled from today! It will chilly in the morning, but as long as there is no rain, we are GOOD!!!
I worry too much...but only about certain things. I realized today that I am -- well -- I'm just gonna come right out and say it -- overprotective! Charles told me yesterday that one of the boys in the cove was going to teach Zachary how to ride a rip-stick. I seriously think my heart skipped a beat. I blame it on my job. Is that a good excuse? I have seen some pretty bad things. The smallest thing gone wrong can injure you for life. This is definitely a case of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"! Aaaaagh! Actually, it is quite frustrating. I'm trying to get better - really I am. There are some things I do not bend on tho. I am and forever will be a helmet nazi. I don't care what you are riding on, if it has wheels on it, you'd BETTER be wearing your helmet. That is non-negotionable. I'd also prefer to you to be wearing wrist guards and knee and elbow pads, but you know... I'm also fanatical about knowing who they are with and where they are going. I want to be able to put my hands on them at all times. We all know it, but there are crazy people out there. It is a sad state of affairs when you have to remind even the older ones about being careful when they go to the bathroom at Chik-fil-A! I know they will grow up and this too shall pass, but we live in the end times...this isn't Mayberry (but it would be cool if it was!) :-)
Even when they spend the night out...a TINY part of me is a little anxious. It isn't that I am worried about them...I know they are in excellent care. I don't know -- I just like having all my chicks under the same roof. I'll be a basket case when they go to college (yes - that is already being talked about!) Maybe it's just my job to worry. Now don't misunderstand...I'm not biting my nails or wringing my hands...it's not like that. It's the "mom" in me. I see lots of parents who frankly appear to not really give a flying flip about what their kids do - whether it's wearing a helmet or jumping in the car with a group of friends to go across state lines to go to a party. To which I wonder, "why are you a parent?" Well, I could guess, but that is a whole different blog!
I suppose as a mom you start to "worry" that moment your heart starts beating outside your body. When you look into that little face and promise them you will always love and protect them. As they age, the things you "worry" about change too. When they are tiny you fret over every little cough...then when they start to eat nothing but mac and cheese you "worry" they aren't getting the nutrition they need...then they start school and you "worry" about social skills...then they get more independent and you "worry" -- well, you get the idea. It is a never ending cycle! Fortunately, I know each of my kids rests in God's hands. He had loaned them to me to guide them and teach them and for that I am very honored. He knows their plans and nothing comes a surprise. To me? YES! To Him? NO! That is a huge load off me....but still....I'm going to do my best to steer them in the right direction! Now where is the bubble wrap????
I have a huge one right now.....can't really "blog" that often because our home computer bit the dust. It's probably for the best anyway (for me - not the computer!) I have plenty I could ramble about, but they are really more "rants" than actual blogging. That's okay tho. In short, spring break has been amazing, and just makes me want summer to get here even faster! C'mon summer! :-)
Yes it is! Just a few more days!! (I know...It's supposed to be "It's Friday, but Sunday's Comin'"!) Friday is the start of spring break and not a moment too soon! I am so ready...ready for sleeping in...catching a movie...going to the library...spending some alone time with the hubby... Yep, you heard read right - Charles and I are getting away for a few days for some MUCH NEEDED time (just a few days!) to ourselves. While I am looking forward to all the aformentioned activities, I am already stressing out about them too. There's the packing...do the kids have the right stuff? Do WE have the right stuff? Are all the details worked out? Will anything happen while we are gone? The kiddos are going to be with my mom part of the time and with Charles' mom part of the time. The boys might actually go out of town with her until Thursday, but they haven't made their final decision yet. I do love that we can all get out and go and have an amazing time, but I am already looking forward to Tuesday and having my chicks under one roof. When we are scattered about, I panic just a little when my cell phone rings. I always fear that something might happen while I am away and vice-versa. Aaaaagh! I don't know what I will do when they go to college. Zachary is already planning to be 5 hours away. (Chest pains starting...breathe in - breathe out!) I can't dwell on that just yet! I need to stop - breathe - and remember Who is in control of the situation. I have to do that ALOT! :-)
So anyway....did you read the status I posted last Thursday? It was "Hush ~ God is in it..." I heard that on the way home from work and seemed so appropriate for so many people I know who are going through some devastating situations right now. It is sometimes hard to remember that God is in the middle of every circumstance - good or bad. Something bad happens and we start to stress out like the person who goes nuts thinking they have lost their glasses when they have been on top of their head the whole time. Psalm 46:10. You know the verse. "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
For those of you who listen to K-Love...remember how they had their listeners pick a "word" for 2011? The word I chose was "see". I have learned that it has a two-fold meaning. I need to learn to stop ("hush") and "see" that God is in EVERY detail of my day. When I am having a bad day, He is still in the midst of it. When I am having a good day, He is still right there. I have to choose to SEE what He is teaching me or SEE where He is leading me. You know something? That is not always an easy task! Hindsight is 20/20! The flip side to this is that I need to live my life so that others can SEE Who lives inside of me. Can they SEE Jesus in my words and in my actions? Can my kids SEE Him? I didn't realize until just recently just how powerful that word really is. Yeah, it really is.
So - all that being said, go forth and prepare for all your spring break activities! I think everyone is very much ready for a well-deserved vaca! Have a great week! :-)
Actually, only four more days til spring break! I'm so excited! Just a taste of summer to come....ahhh bliss! And of course there is the no-dealing-with-lunches-or-backpacks that goes along with it. I am so ready for it. Well - is anyone ever NOT ready for it? I mean really, c'mon!
So let's see....what's been going on in our house these days. Josh's play was last weekend. Well, the rehearsals have consumed our lives for the last 6 weeks, but it all culminated to "production week" last week. EVERY night rehearsal from 6-9. That - my friends...is a killer. It's all good though. You know what you are getting into when you agree to let them be in it, so it is no surprise - it just makes for a really long week. My kids are troopers...they enjoy what they do and do it with no complaints. Even when they miss a few hours of sleep! :-) Zachary was there too. He did lights and discovered he LOVES that! My kids are pretty awesome. Don't know if I have mentioned that lately, but they really are ~ even if they are mine! They are GOOD kids -- you know? The kind that make you proud....that you actually enjoy having around. They are making good choices and are starting to make very insightful observations about others. They know what sets them apart from the rest of the world and are very much okay with that....I just pray it stays that way! You have to cover them in prayer parents! :-)
So fresh off the heels of last weekend came Sarah's "Top Banana" week at school. Daddy put together a fabulous (as always) princess poster for her...made her favorite oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies for snack...and read "How I Became A Pirate" to her class - eye patch, pirate hat and all! Isn't he a great dad? Yeah, I think so! I read to class one day, took Bernie up as a "show-and-tell", made a snack of a few of her favorite fruits...even Josh and Zachary each took one day and read to her class! I also managed to have "Aunt Tammy" come read too! I personally think she had a great week. We made sure she had something special to look forward to every day. She was very happy, so that really is all that matters!
So, although I had several days off, I was never home and am so far behind on -- well -- everything! Laundry is an ongoing project at my house, so I am NEVER really caught up. I do need to clean tho. But you now what? I have (ssshhhh!) NO PLANS this weekend...and it is supposed to rain Saturday (which really makes me happy!)...and everyone will be home...which means I have lots of help around the house. I'm thinking we all take a nap and spend the afternoon cleaning...hehe. Thinking I will bribe them with baked spaghetti and brownies for supper!
See this little guy? So little...he wasn't even 1 year old yet! He went from having no hair to a head full of it (obviously he did NOT inherit that from me!). We still have that rocking chair. The outfit he is wearing was always one of my favs....he's so handsome!
Now, this tiny one is 12 years old and taller than me (but barely), His booty doesn't quite fit into that rocking chair anymore. Where does the time go? I know we all ask that question, but I have ben asking myself that more and more frequently these days!
So back to present day news....
Vaca reservations have been made -- WOO HOO!!! It can't come soon enough! I am looking forward to spring break and even more to summer vacation! I'm going to whine and complain once again express my strong dislike for lunches and backpacks. I love Thursdays because it is pizza day and I only have to make one lunch. Ugh...trivial I know...but I have friends who feel the same so I know I am in good company!
This is a three day weekend...again I say WOO HOO!! Unfortunately I have to work this weekend, but we are ALL going to be home Monday! We have already made plans to see "Gnomeo and Juliet" and eat at Ichiban Buffet. Josh is thrilled beyond words! Next week will be a killer for the boys tho. Josh has play practice every night and Zachary is working lights, so he will be gone too since it is production week. Josh is a pirate in the play "How I Became a Pirate" at Harrell Theatre next weekend. On Saturday night, the author of the book will be at the performance, so everyone is really excited! If you want to come and want info on tickets, just let me know! These kids have worked really hard and are so thrilled - plus I personally think the music is really cute!
I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! I will especially be loving mine when I get off work Sunday night, but still.... :-)
No - I don't mean "word" as in "Yo, Yo..." I mean "word" as in I have been thinking about my "word" for 2011. If you listen to KLOVE, you know what I am talking about. You are supposed to think of a word to be your "theme" for the year. One dj has the word "clear"....another one is using "distinct". I LOVE those words! Makes me wish I could have thought of them! That's okay tho....I am deciding between 2. You are supposed to decide by the end of January, so I guess I only have a few days left - guess I need to crack down!
So anyway, today was like a breath of fresh air. The sun and warmer temps were glorious! I am however paying for it now - I can't breathe out of my nose, but it was well worth it! Ava had ballet - had lunch with a friend - I ran a couple of errands - Target being one of them. Have I mentioned how I LOVE Target? Seriously, I think they must have some sort of mind altering drug that flows from the vents. It doesn't matter how many cars are in the parking lot, as soon as you walk in, it is like you are the only person in the store. Time comes to a screeching halt...my mind suddenly becomes clear....birds sing and woodland creatures eat out of my hand. Okay - well - maybe not the last part, but it wouldn't surprise me - haha! Everything looks so different in Target. I may have seen it a million times elsewhere, but when I see it in Target, it is as if I am seeing it for the first time. What is up with that? Right now, it is my favorite place to kill time. If it had a beach, I would never leave!
My ADD must be kicking in because I can't stay on one track! I mentioned I have been reading "Choosing To SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman. Have any of you read it? It is an incredibly powerful book. I read the first chapter and was afraid to pick it back up. As a mom, it was just too close to home for me (if you don't know, in May 2008, her then 5 year-old daughter Maria was accidentally run over by her older brother and was killed.) I think it was because it sounded like Maria was a perfect combination of my two girls. She liked to "pinky-promise" like Ava, and she loved it when her whole family was together - just like Sara. After a couple of days I realized that Satan was trying to use that against me. He knew that book would be a blessing to me and would try any means possible to keep me from it. So, I picked it up again and hardly been able to put it down. The Chapman's are an amazing family. Their faith is phenomenal. God has spoken to them and through them in ways you would not believe. I have so enjoyed that book because Mary Beth has made herself so transparent. You just have to read it for yourself - I might even read it again!
Well, besides work, shuttling to play practice, laundry, grocery shopping, keeping Ava from destroying something or torturing the dog, laundry, meal planning, balancing life (unsuccessfully usually), LAUNDRY (in case I haven't mentioned it already)....that pretty much sums up my week! If you have a "word" for 2011, please feel free the mention it - I'd love to know!
I just started reading "Choosing To See" by Mary Beth Chapman. The prologue was written by Beth Moore, and in the closing paragraph were these words (bear in mind she is referring to the tragic death of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman's 5 year-old daughter Maria in May 2008):
"An unbelieving onlooker could reason that, to have a God who cared enough to orchestrate something like the timing of that dream [a dream she had about Mary Beth and Maria, which unbeknownst to her was actually an answer to prayer for Mary Beth], we'd have a God who'd never let such a tragedy happen to start with. These are places where God exercises His sovereign right to remain a mystery. We cannot fathom the intricacies of the divine plan. But make no mistake, when we are in the driest desert, we can receive the manna to make it all the way to the other side where trees bud again and children laugh. God sometimes delivers us from evils we never see. Other times He parts raging oceans before our very eyes. Still other times He says, 'When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you....Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west' (Isa. 43:2,5)"
In light of my previous blog (in case you are reading this on facebook and have no idea what I am talking about, clickhereto go to my blog), I really thought this was too "golden" not to post. As usual, Beth Moore so eloquently stated the point I was trying to get across - that God can exercise "His sovereign right to remain a mystery". (Sigh) ---- life gets harder as we get older (in some aspects!) :-)
So, one day last week I was listening to KLOVE and the were doing the daily news stories. They started off talking about the tragic shooting in Arizona last weekend and the death of the nine-year old girl. (BTW - wasn't she BEAUTIFUL??) Anyway, the story immediately following was about the year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and how an infant who had survived 4 days in the rubble without food and water was able to meet her rescuers. The baby's mom was quoted as saying that "God must have a something very special planned" for her baby. That really kind of stung me. I mean, I know it wasn't intended to sound this way, but to hear that on the heels of the story of the tragic shooting, it was almost as if this baby was saved because he/she was more special than the nine-year old who was callously gunned down. Obviously I know that isn't true, but imagine what that would sound like to a non-believer, or even to this little girl's parents?
Yet, how many times have we used that phrase in reference to someone else who had a brush with death? I know I have used it - or thought it at least. If you really think about it though, it isn't really true. We ALL have special plans for our lives - given to us by God Himself. The God I serve is not surprised by what happens here on earth. He isn't up there scratching His head or wringing His hands wondering what He's going to do with all these rebel children! :-) That - my friends - is a huge comfort to know!
When Sarah was born, on her birth announcement, one of the verses we had printed was Psalm 139:16, "Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." He knows it all....our beginning...our end...and it isn't our place to try to figure it out. I mean, you can try, but you really won't be able to. Trying to figure out the "how's" or "why's" things happen to us or in our world can consume us or even make us bitter if we let them. Our purpose is spelled out in vs. 14 of Psalm 139. "I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made." THAT is our purpose...in the midst of all the tragedy surrounding us, it is our place to praise Him. Even on the days you don't feel like, JUST DO IT! It will change your whole outlook..I promise! :-)
I mean really? We are already 6 days into 2011....and I am still recovering from that blur we called the holidays! It was fun and all, but I am more than ready to assume our normal chaos. The kids were (for the most part) ready to go back to school and Ava is bouncing off the walls to go back to her ballet classes! The break was fun - restful - yet I still did not do somemost of the things I wanted. :-( I had intended on doing the Happy Birthday Jesus cake, but due to unexpected illness by three of the 6 family members (myself included) - it just did not happen. It's a great idea though, so I am hoping to do it at Easter....it just can't be a "Happy Birthday" cake. (Did you get to try it Judith??) We partied 3 nights in a row...the kids had a blast - well we all did!! It's fun to have people over to our house....stresses me out to get ready for it, but it is still fun!
Anyway, decorations are down - much to the dismay of one very upset four year old. The night Charles started taking down the trees, Sarah exclaimed "Daddy, how can you do this to us? Santa will be so disappointed!" That girl is a hoot. Her latest thing is she is telling everyone that we (as in "she and I") are going out of town and never coming back. Yeah -- like that statement didn't provoke phone calls from teachers at school. Thank goodness they are all our friends! Hearing her repeat things these days is like playing the game "Rumor". Have you ever played it? You have a room full of people and one person whispers something to another and so on and so on until the last person in the room repeats what was told to them - which is usually some whacked out statement making no sense. Well, that is every day life with Sarah....minus the room full of people. She was also telling Zachary and Josh that we actually went to visit the "Fresh Beat" house. (FYI...."Fresh Beat Band" is a show that comes on Nickelodeon that the girls love. It is about 4 teenagers that live in the house and they all play musical instruments and dance, etc. I know, I know, there is the whole 'where are the parents' thing, but that is just the way it is!) So anyway, either she is dreaming some crazy dreams or I need to get her ears checked! Until then, I'm just going to be extremely careful what I say!
So anyway, I guess I will gear up for "White Out 2011" -- the weather service says we are supposed to get 5-8 inches of snow here in Memphis - which means I need to get to the store! I got the bread but I need some milk!!! Oh - and the boys need some snow shoes!!
"Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully."
I am fortunate to have been married to my best friend for 15 years. God has blessed us with four beautiful children who's mission in life is to keep us on our toes! I love the people they are becoming and am so honored to be a part of it! Chaos (it seems) is our constant companion, but that is okay...our house is fun, noisy and never dull!